Memoir

By
One Bad Decision


It was a nice, sunny day in the town of Roslyn. The year was 2003, and I was in Mr. Lass’s fifth grade class. I became best friends with a girl named Harli Kozak, and we soon grew inseparable. Harli and I were known as the trouble makers, mainly because we caused some sort of trouble everywhere we went. We always found something fun to do, but conversely, that day it would backfire on us.
It was a Friday afternoon and we had just gotten out of school. Harli and I took the bus and went back to her house as we usually did on Fridays. We got dropped off at her house, where I would spend the night. The two of us walked inside and rushed to the kitchen. We had our usual afternoon snack. She chomped on the double-stuffed Oreos while I ate my body weight in potato chips. After eating, we contemplated ideas of plans for the night.
Her mother informed us that that night, there was scheduled to be a teen lounge at the JCC for all of the fifth graders. We decided to attend, however it was not going to begin until 7 o’clock. It was only 3:30 and we weren’t the kind of kids to sit around for three and a half hours waiting to go somewhere. With the beautiful weather in mind, we thought of an idea.
We walked into the garage and I headed for the shiny, purple, scooter as she walked toward her bicycle. I hopped on and we began riding down the driveway and onto the street. I rode the scooter down Beechwood, and onto Teakwood, making sharp turns and performing little tricks. Harli and I continued for about 10 minutes until I had intense pains in my feet. After all, I was wearing Birkenstocks, not the most athletic of shoes.
So I decided it would be at my advantage to take off my shoes and ride the scooter barefooted. I put the precarious shoes into the basket located at the anterior of Harli’s Mongoose. As I hopped onto the scooter, I was assured I would be more comfortable, with no annoying straps gnawing at my innocent toes. After another fifteen minutes of riding, the bottoms of my feet were sore and cut up from the small pieces of free pavement and rocks that rested on the streets. At this moment, we decided it would be a smart idea to head back home. We had been riding for nearly a half hour and traveled a few blocks away from Harli’s house. Unfortunately, her parents had gone out to dinner, leaving us with no ride home. I was forced to continue on our journey.
Harli came up with an idea. We would switch; I would ride the bike and she would take over the scooter. (Harli was the one with more common sense, consequently she was wearing sneakers.) I had only ridden a bike a few times in my life, and was certainly no Lance Armstong. My parents never really taught me how to ride a bicycle, mainly due to my clumsy composure.
I knew this wasn’t the smartest decision, but I thought “What’s the worst that can happen?” and focusing on my throbbing feet, I jumped onto the Mongoose.
I put my feet to the pedals and it was certainly less painful than the hard, rocky, ground. As Harli rode eloquently on the scooter, I was riding slowly, concentrating on not falling over. The bike ran over some rocks on the black pavement, each causing a sudden bump along the ride. In order to get home, we had to overcome a frighteningly, steep hill. I followed Harli up the hill, as she led me a few feet ahead. I pedaled harder and harder, faster and faster, trying to make it up the slope. I finally reached the peak and looked down. I felt like I was on top of Mt. Everest.
My heart raced as adrenaline rushed throughout my body. The thought of biking down this hill had me panic-stricken. I could barely ride a bike on the flat ground, let alone down a hill almost parallel to its adjacent side.
Harli said, “Come on, Chels. You can do it!”
“Uhh, I don’t know about this…” I replied hesitantly.
“Follow me.”
I watched as my best friend scootered down the terrifying hill. It seemed easier than I had imagined. It took about ten seconds until she braked at the stop sign foregoing a sharp left turn that would leave us a few houses from our destination. If she could do it then so can I, I thought.
I skipped onto the bike and placed my hands on the handle bars. My feet uncertainly made their way to the pedals.
“Please don’t fall, please don’t fall,” I whispered to myself.
The bike began to move slowly. I made my way down the hill gaining extreme amounts of momentum. I had no problem balancing, and I did not fall off. The wind was blowing in my face, my eyes beginning to water and my lips feeling dry. My fear served as glue, keeping my hands stuck to the brakes, ready to stop at any moment.
“Slow down, Chels!” She called out to me.
The bottom of the hill was approaching and I needed to veer left. I reached the bottom with so much speed that it would be impossible to turn. Tentatively, I pressed my young hands to the brakes. The bike did not come to a peaceful stop. Instead, it had flipped over, throwing me off into her neighbor’s lawn, onto hard rocks and pavement.
Harli and I both looked down at my thigh and shrieked.
“Are you okay!?” She asked me, with a look of dismay.
The fact was, I was not okay. I landed on a large, rough rock of pavement that had torn a gash into my inner thigh. It was repulsive. There was a hole in my thigh, about the size of a gumball. Rivers of blood, small rocks, and dirt began to pour out of my leg. There were little segments of gravel stuck in the wound.
I was weeping and writhing in pain. Harli looked at me and there were tears in her eyes; I could tell she was scared, too.
Shortly after, my mother arrived to the scene of the accident. Her face screamed ‘worried.’ I was lifted up and placed in the car. She asked about what happened and I told her the entire story, not leaving out any small details. She sympathized with me and asked how I was feeling. My mother was disappointed in my hasty decision to ride the bike, when I clearly lacked the necessary skill.
I sat in the backseat staring at my wound. The incident kept replaying in my mind, over and over again.
We arrived at St. Francis Hospital at about 5:00. I walked inside the emergency room, and my mother and I took a seat.
I learned about safety and smart decisions that day. I realized that I was not invincible and bad things do happen sometimes. Decisions are important and with bad ones, you will suffer the consequences.





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